30 Day Book Challenge: Day Twenty – Book that you’ve read the most number of times.

Hi

I didn’t even have to think about this, the Harry Potter series is the un-rivaled answer.  I have two particular favourites – The Prisoner of Azkaban and Order of the Phoenix.  When I was little I think Chamber of Secrets was also up there.

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Self-Help Wednesday

Hi

I’ve decided to slightly expand Self-Help Wednesday from just quotes from books to quotes in general.  I actually have a book of quotes that I collected myself when I was about fifteen, so I think it would be interesting to share them here.  I’m going to skip over the (typical?) ‘I hate school so here’s a list of anti-school quotes’ page(s) because I’m not in school anymore, and it’s nearly summer so no one cares.  I’ll probably post them some other time.

‘If you don’t like what you’re doing, then don’t do it’ Ray Bradbury

I really like this one.  It is simple and straight-forward.  I find it impossible to follow at the current point in my life, but I think it is sound advice and I wish I’d remembered it a year or two ago.

‘Creative minds are rarely tidy’

I don’t actually know who said this.  For some reason I just never wrote down who coined this one.  I love it though, partially because I’m a messy person 🙂

‘Sometimes you’ve got to let everything go – purge yourself.  If you are unhappy with anything… whatever is bringing you down get rid of it.  Because you’ll find that when you’re free, your true creativity, your true self comes out’ Tina Turner

Wouldn’t it be great if you could just purge all the bad things out of your life?  I know I’d love to.

30 Day Book Challenge: Day Nineteen – Book that turned you on

Hi

 This is such an easy one to answer, but so embarrassing.  Should I even answer it? Hmm… okay here it goes.

I have never been turned on by a book. And yes, I have just read ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ by E. L. James.

I don’t know why.

On a sidenote, I did consider as a joke saying that ‘Middlemarch’ by George Eliot turned me on.  I have a sick/weird sense of humour 🙂 Fyi I think it did the opposite – I went through a huge reading slump after I went near it.

30 Day Book Challenge: Day Eighteen – Book You’re Most Embarrassed to Say You Like

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Hmm… decisions, decisions.

I guess that there are books that I wouldn’t like to be seen reading.  Mainly, anything by Ann Rice.  That seems mean, because many of her books are bad.  It’s just… I don’t like the covers.  They are cheesy.  It doesn’t help that when I have mentioned in the past that I like the Vampire Chronicles people have been like ‘oh you read that‘.   Those people were a bit judgemental though because they actually decent books that I was engrossed in when I read them.   And by ‘those people’ I mean they were my English teachers so…

30 Day Book Challenge: Day Seventeen – Shortest Book You’ve Read

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I’m not quite sure what is the shortest book I’ve read.  Like I said on Day Sixteen, I tend to read door-stoppers.  In terms of fiction I think the shortest book I’ve read ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ by J.D. Salinger.  However, that is not counting non-fiction where I think it is ‘A Room of One’s Own’ by Virginia Woolf.

Ironically, I enjoyed both books – they packed a punch.  They didn’t feel short, and I actually am proud that I have read them!  It’s a bit of a weird thing to say ‘I’m proud I read that’ but I think it is reasonable.  They are classics, and took a fair bit of concentration to begin with (more than most).  ‘A Room of One’s Own’ is technically an extended essay of the role of women in writing, but it is very readable and is one of those books that just get you thinking.  ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ is basically Holden’s (the main character) recount of his mental break-down, told from the safety of a year later.  As someone who has dealt with depression myself, I found the book kind of spooky and sad.  His thought process is just so accurate, the only other book that I’ve read that is comparable is ‘The Bell Jar’ by Sylvia Plath.

They aren’t my favourite classics, but I still liked them a lot.   I hope to read ‘Mrs Dalloway’ by Woolf soon too, because I really liked her writing style.  Both books are very interesting, and say an awful lot, so to anyone who hasn’t read them – you need to check them out!

Musing Mondays (May 28)

Hi

I am a huge, huge fan of book blogs in general, and as such I’ve been reading other bloggers doing ‘Musing Mondays’ for a while now.  So, I’m excited to now take part.  I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner.   For those of you who don’t know ‘Musing Mondays’ is a weekly event hosted by Should Be Reading where basically you are asked to answer a book/reading related question.

This week’s question is:

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away?

No I don’t.  I usually guess at the word from the context, but even if I’m baffled I keep reading and (maybe) look it up later.  I don’t like to disturb the reading flow.  I seriously hate footnotes for that very reason too, but find myself compelled to look at them anyways.

My Eurovision Top Three

Hi

Yesterday was the annual Eurovision Song Contest and like most Europeans I watched the entire thing and really enjoyed it.  I think a few years back it was harder to appreciate the music because there were so many gimmicky acts.  I liked a lot of the music this year (as well as the outfits) so I’ve decided to share my favourites here.

1.  Greta Salome and Jonsi – Never Forget entry for Iceland

I love the video for this song – such beautiful scenery and the fairytale quality really adds to the song.

2. Eleftheria Eleftheriou –  Aphroldisiac entry for Greece

 

I thought that this would be the winner.  It isn’t my usual cup of tea, but it is crazy catchy.  Plus (no offence to the Greeks) I wanted to see what would happen if Greece won, seeing as the situation there isn’t great.

3. Loreen – Euphoria entry for Sweden

This is the actual winner.  I loved the performance of the song live, it was the best one.  She has a great voice.

What was your favourite song of the night?

Book Review: The Novice by Trudi Canavan

Hi

Synopsis:

Imardin is a city of dark intrigues and deadly politics, where those who wield magic wield power.  Into this established order has blundered a young street-girl with extraordinary magical gifts.  Adopted by the Magician’s Guild, her life is changed forever – but for better or for worse?

Sonea knew that she’d face a tough time training within the Magician’s Guild but she little realised the level of animosity she would face from her fellow novices.  The sons and daughters of the most powerful families in the realm, her classmates seem determined to see her fail – at whatever cost.  But in accepting the protection of the Guild’s High Lord, Sonea may have embraced a far bleaker fate.  For High Lord Akkarin harbours a secret that is far darker than his magician’s robes.  

If you have ever been bullied, and want to read a good fantasy novel that deals with it in a shockingly realistic way, ‘The Novice’ is the book for you.  This is the second instalment in the Black Magician Trilogy, and follows on from ‘The Magician’s Guild’.  ‘The Novice’ follows Sonea as she enters into her studies and has to deal with a lot of nasty, stomach churning bullying.  After each attack I could nearly feel how worn-out she was from the bullies.  It also follows Lord Dannyl after he is appointed Second Ambassador to Elyne and his travels around the Allied lands investigating ancient magic with the scholar Tayend.   The impact of bullying on both Sonea in the present, and Dannyl in the past is a major theme, as is acceptance.  As you read certain revelations are made, which I won’t spoil here.  However, I will say that most fantasy books that I have read tend to brush over homo-sexuality so it was refreshing to read about it here, in-depth and involving main characters.

At the end of ‘The Magician’s Guild’ it was revealed that High Lord Akkarin practices forbidden Black Magic, and that really no-one who is in on the secret knows how to deal with it.  This is the story-arch of the series, and of course it is the main conflict of the book.  Between the bullying at school, and dealing with the High Lord, Sonea is in hell.  I really felt for her, because it was just so cruel.  I really hated Akkarin for some of the stunts he pulled.  The situation just kept getting worse and worse, until the end, but I’m not going to spoil that either.

‘The Novice’ was an exciting book to read.  I engaged with what was going on, and like I said earlier I just really emphasised with the characters, especially Sonea. It was a real step up from ‘The Magician’s Guild’ and I appreciated that.  I loved this book.  I can’t really say anything bad about it, other than that the first hundred pages are a bit too much of a summary of the first book for my liking.  The end is a total cliff-hanger, and I picked up the next book – ‘The High Lord’- very soon after putting this one down.

30 Day Book Challenge: Day Sixteen – Longest Book you have read.

Hi

I love door-stoppers, tomes of books.  I actually went through an alarmingly shallow stage where, before I ordered a book off Amazon I would check the number of pages in said book.  If it had less than five-hundred I was wary of purchasing.  There’s just something about thick books that I like, I can’t explain it.

The book I think is the longest I’ve read is ‘The Witching Hour’ (Lives of the Mayfair Witches series) by Anne Rice.

The edition I read weighed in at 1200 pages!  This was actually a really enjoyable read too.

Self-Help Wednesday

Hi

Today’s quote is about the power of self-talk.  I stumbled upon it while reading ‘The Pillars of the World’ by Anne Bishop, and really liked the idea.  I struggle with depression and bad self-talk and at the time of reading it just really struck me, because I was in an especially bad place.

Think of something else, she told herself sternly.  Your thoughts are you will, and you bring to yourself what you will.  

Ari, the main character is the speaker/ thinker.